Political Theory: Joel Feinberg And John Stuart Mills

Better Essays
Political Theory Essay 1 After the shootings at Charlie Hebdo, there was tremendous sympathy for the victims, but the debate over whether there are any limits to free speech continue. Are there any cases when expression should be limited? Why? In this essay I will argue the view that there are circumstances where expression should be limited, while drawing on the views of Joel Feinberg and John Stuart Mills to broaden and strengthen my argument. I will attempt to justify that John Stuart Mills approach to the argument of Freedom of Speech is the most valid, and the only instance where expression should be limited is where it causes an immediate harm or violation to the rights of others. I believe that expression should be limited when it causes harm to others or violates their rights. This view coincides with J.S Mill’s “Harm Principle”. I do not believe that hate speech should be prohibited as it merely…show more content…
Unless of course, this expression is inciting violent or illegal behaviour, or threatening others, in which case it is directly harmful and should therefore be prohibited. I think J.S. Mill would agree with me on these points as he states “the only purpose for which power can be rightfully exercised over any member of a civilized community, against his will, is to prevent harm to others.” (Mill, J.S.,1978). Joel Feinberg, who also had very influential views on the Freedom of Speech debate, may respond to Mills view and propose that the Harm Principle is not enough: “In some instances, Feinberg suggests, we also need an offense principle that can act as a guide to public censure. The basic idea is that the harm principle sets the bar too high
Get Access